Coming soon: Printed latte art

A new company called OnLatte uses edible ink to print any design on your foamed coffee drink.

Michelle Thatcher Former Senior Associate Editor, Laptops
Tech expert Michelle Thatcher grew up surrounded by gadgets and sustained by Tex-Mex cuisine. Life in two major cities--first Chicago, then San Francisco--broadened her culinary horizons beyond meat and cheese, and she's since enjoyed nearly a decade of wining, dining, and cooking up and down the California coast. Though her gadget lust remains, the practicalities of her small kitchen dictate that single-function geegaws never stay around for long.
Michelle Thatcher
OnLatte's printed latte art

We thought latte stencils were pretty cool, but this really takes the cake--er, foam. A new company called OnLatte has grabbed the attention of food blogs (and mainstream press like The Wall Street Journal) with its tech-centric approach to the practice of latte art.

The project began last year, when inventor Oleksiy Pikalo saw a video on latte art and decided to make a machine that would decorate his lattes for him. Using a hacked x-y flatbed plotter and edible brown ink, he built a prototype and jokingly filmed it printing a Starbucks logo on a homemade latte.

Pikalo demonstrated his custom-built printer at Siggraph 2008, using digital photos, freehand drawings, and logos as image sources (you can admire some of the images on his blog). He's now working on turning the concept into a revenue-generating venture; pricing for the device is tentatively set at $1,500. If you simply must be among the first to get your company's brand etched in foam, or you just like playing with your food, OnLatte will also consider a custom build request.